Tonight I ventured off to the Sip Ontario event, a showcase of the Ontario Wine Awards, below is the blow by blow as blogged by the berry throughout the night (pardon the spelling!). There will be no pictures this year as Mrs.CWG took the small pocket camera and my hands where to full to bring the full sized AND drink wine, since drinking wine took precedent!
Hot hot walk for a short jaunt of 20 minutes, I can fully grasp now why the movement in the Caribbean is so elongated and drawn out. It is their attempt to avoid sweating. Does not help that my recent running regime has led to excess perspiration… Of course I arrived 30 minutes to early, as Mrs. CWG would tell you I have a habit of being early or at least overly prompt. I have decided to browse the lovely distillery district for the next 20 minutes pretending to be tourist and mostly watching the people. For those that have never been to this district you are missing a hidden jewel. The area is a former distillery (hence the creative name) and now boasts an excellent assortment of restaurants, arts and crafts house plus a few specialty shops. It is without a doubt one of the best walks in good weather. Just a note to the ladies out there, this area is mostly cobblestoned, meaning high heels are not recommended!
Apparently I am not the only one early as when I strolled around the corner, I witnessed some 50 people in line. Very good to see, no word if the event was a sell out but I will inquire as I can. (edit: it was not a “sell” out but the tickets sales exceeded expectations)
First gem, while being distracted by the charming Inns of Ontario representative, I tasted an excellent 2005 Pinot Noir (Gravity) from Flat Rock Cellars, bright on the tongue and solid finish, I will ensure I do a full review in the upcoming months.
Just tasted the Reif Estates 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon that beat out the Château des Charmes Cab Sauv for the gold. Solid wine with firm tannins, 2-5 years of cellaring still to go at first glance, I will be picking up 2-3 bottles to review and store.
The 2004 Angels Gate Cabernet/Merlot appears to be a sleeper. Solid tannins, ripe fruit and a good nose. No awards but worth investigating, I will be sure to buy a bottle or two to get a full review in. (At this point I am sure Mrs.CWG is cringing)
I know that outside of 2002 complex reds I am eagerly awaiting the 2005’s, since we are still 8-10 months away from release, next year this event will be stunning for bold reds. Lots of 2005 Pinots and Bacos here, but the few “heavier” reds are still young and really not ready to taste. That said, to change gears, I just tried the Konzelmann Estates 2004 Riesling Traminer Late harvest, phenomenal, these will be a bottle or two in the future. Late harvests are so often overlooked by their big brothers the Icewines, but this is one excellent wine.
Strewn Three (Strewn Wineries), a nice meritage with even tannins and ripe fruit, 3 to 5 via the winemaker, with 5 to 8 if you are looking for even balanced Bordeaux style. This little known winery may actually have a solid winner here if the price is not too high. I believe this was a 2004 and I will follow up if I can with a review.
I am going to wrap up, I am touring the desert wines at this time as I have tried most of the bold reds and some of the award winning whites. While not much else has griped my palate with solid “Wows” it is not for lack of quality but from sheer overwhelming aromas and tastes. The icewines and late harvests are simply tremendous and while Canada is often thought of as a desert wine producing country, it does produce some of the best and has deserved that reputation, on to more late harvests and icewines, pardon me!
Lies, lies, lies; alright I am not a wrapping up yet, just had the 2004 Coyote’s Run Barrel Fermented Vidal Icewine, at $40 a bottle may be the biggest steal in the pricey icewine market. As well it is the gold medal winner. Things to ponder for those looking at the big named vineyards in Niagara.
Whoa am I going to have to find links tonight (for those that do not know this entire evening has been blogged on my blackberry), and I have found another gem. Lailey Vineyard has produced an excellent barrel fermented 2005 Vidal icewine that should be reviewd. Make note Mrs.CWG I see several purchases on the horizon. The Winemaker believes 2 to 4 years to mature to excellence.
Aftermath: The event was excellent, great venue, excellent setup, good representation from the wineries, there was tremendous food throughout (I avoided blogging as to what I was eating, but suffice it to say the food was bite sized and perfectly matched to the multitude of wines).
Okay that is it, tomorrow is an excellent southern Rhône for review. Till then, sip well!